At last! The most rangefinder-like of the mirrorless camera systems has a 35mm equivalent lens! We’ve always been a fan of SLR Magic’s lenses here on the Phoblographer and when we received the 23mm f1.7 in the mail, we were super stoked. It renders a near 35mm field of view on the cameras. Though Fujifilm themselves will be releasing one later on from the publishing of this piece, they were beaten to the cake by SLR Magic. We’ve spent a couple of days with this lens since seeing at Photokina, so far and we have to say that this one makes the X Pro 1 feels like the Leica cameras that I was trained on.
Pros and Cons
- Beautiful bokeh
- Fairly sharp wide open in the center and even sharper when stopped down
- Excellent ergonomics
- Solid build quality
- Corner sharpness isn’t the greatest
While the SLR Magic 23mm f1.7 is an extremely fun lens to use, it will also require you to slow down your working process a whole lot. For portraits or street photography, you’ll really need to sit in one place and think due to the fact that it focuses manually and you’ll also need to zoom in/magnify areas to ensure that you’ve got a sharp photo. And this is where we really wish that Fujifilm has a focus peaking feature in the X Pro 1 as of the publishing of this story. Either way, for the price one really cannot go wrong. And though we’re not overly enthusiastic about this lens, it still really is a very good purchase for the money.
I’ll put my cards on the table right away: I’ve developed a slightly tumultuous relationship with zooms. They’re very useful tools but I’ve come to realize they also tend to drive me into what I’d call visual laziness. When I decided to jump to the X system as my one and only kit, I also embraced the fact that I’d be shooting with nothing but primes. In fact much of that decision was coloured by my experience with the X100’s fixed focal length and the way it affected my shooting reflexes. Not that this was anything new: I used Nikon primes as well. But committing to a single focal length for extended periods of time wasn’t something I’d really done before. When I shoot a prime I need to move — Obviously; I need to walk in order to alter my distance to the subject; and while I walk my brain works, and when my brain works it notices its surroundings and finds details or angles I often would’ve overlooked otherwise. But with a zoom… No matter how much I try, it’s always much too easy to fall back to those old reflexes. Twist in, twist out. Maybe if we stopped calling them zooms in the first place. That word doesn’t do justice to what’s going on optically. Maybe instead we could describe them as multi-focal lenses. There’s definitely something pretty fantastic about having the equivalent of 8 primes on a single lens… IF you use it as such. IF you understand how to use each individual focal length in the right context, and how each one changes the entire aspect of an image way beyond making things look nearer or closer. Compression, distortion, spatial perception. Of course you can also use it to get a closer shot of that mountain way out there; but perhaps if you actually GO to the mountain, something amazing will happen along the way. Right, so where was I? Ah yes: no zooms for me. Huh…
Absolutely. As surprised as I am to say this, it’s a no brainer. Until we get the extremely anticipated 56mm f/1.2 — yes, it’s now 1.2!!!!! — This will be my 85ish equivalent. It’s a great lens to have in my arsenal, especially for studio work. If you’re looking for an all around travel zoom lens, this will certainly do the job and then some. Personally, I still prefer something smaller and less visible and the X100S remains the ultimate travel solution for me. As I said earlier, I like committing to a single focal length and forcing my brain to make the most out of it. But I love what Fuji has done with this lens. And it certainly bodes well for the upcoming XF 55–200mm. More random images below.......
A little more than a year ago, Adobe released its most recent major update to Photoshop Lightroom -- the company's flagship photography workflow application -- after a two-month open beta program. Today, the company takes the wraps off a beta release of the followup, continuing a tradition of public beta that stretches right back to Lightroom's formative days. The latest Lightroom 5 betabrings several interesting new features, including a radial gradient tool, a more advanced healing brush and a clever automatic perspective correction tool. But for our money, the feature which stands out is support for offline image editing, or what Adobe calls Smart Previews.
If you're one of the many photographers who take advantage of Adobe's license terms allowing use of a desktop and laptop on the same Lightroom license, chances are you've hit a certain dilemma. You're out in the field with the laptop, yet you want to browse your existing catalog and perhaps tweak a few photos -- but you've not brought the catalog's contents with you. The laptop drive doesn't have enough storage space for all your photos, and you didn't think you'd need to carry your bulky external drives with you. Or perhaps you're not even using external drives -- maybe your catalog is shared across the network from your desktop machine. Either way, you don't have access to the files you need. That's the problem Smart Previews aims to solve. Lightroom 5 public beta can automatically generate reduced-resolution copies of your images on external drives and network shares, suitable for the smaller storage space available on your laptop. And it will let you edit these images just as if the files were online. Of course, some edits won't be meaningful on reduced-res previews. For example, you'll likely want to forgo tools like noise reduction and sharpening, where information at the pixel level is key. However, for many tools such as cropping, tweaking color and so on, that reduced-resolution file will still be enough to get the job done, or at least to get you in the ballpark while an editing idea is fresh in your mind. The clever bit happens when the offline media comes back online -- go back into the images, and your edits are applied to the originals automatically. This is very clever stuff, and something we have a feeling many photographers will welcome with open arms.....
Yesterday, I photographed a wedding entirely with the new Fuji X100S. And I'm happy to present those photos to you. Before I go any further, I do want to thank Mark Alison who was the primary photographer at yesterday's wedding.